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Fleury, Homan stay unbeaten to reach Tour Challenge semifinals

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — There’s no trouble with Tracy Fleury at the Tour Challenge Tier 1.

Fleury and her squad from East St. Paul, Man., extended their undefeated run to five games and are through to the semifinals following a 6-3 victory over Winnipeg’s Team Darcy Robertson in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

It’ll be another “Battle of the Buffalo” for Fleury as she takes on Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., in the evening with an opportunity to play for the championship on the line.

Fleury is actually from Sudbury, Ont., and has the Northern Ontario crowd at the sold-out Tournament Centre on her side. She joined Einarson’s former teammates — third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish — one province over this season. Meanwhile, Einarson formed a squad with former skips Val Sweeting at third, Shannon Birchard at second and Briane Meilleur at lead.

Einarson eliminated Team Silvana Tirinzoni 5-4 to advance.

Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan also climbed to 5-0 with a 5-3 win over Edmonton’s Team Laura Walker. Homan rolled heavy on her last in the second to give up two but recovered with a three-ender in the third and then stole points of her own in four and five. Walker could only muster a single in six and ran out of rocks in eight.

Homan faces Team Nina Roth of the United States in a matchup of Olympic proportions between the two Pyeongchang Winter Games representatives. Roth scored two in the eighth end to bounce Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones 6-5.

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The men’s quarterfinals matchups are: Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., vs. Team Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont.; Team Peter de Cruz of Switzerland vs. Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe; Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., vs. Team John Shuster of the United States; and Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher vs. Team Rich Ruohonen of the U.S.

Howard ousted Regina’s Team Matt Dunstone 6-4 during the lone tiebreaker game in the morning.

Watch the men’s quarterfinals on Sportsnet East/West/Pacific and Sportsnet 360 at 4 p.m. ET followed by the men’s and women’s semifinals at 8 p.m. ET on Sportsnet 360. Online streaming is available at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: Winners of the Tour Challenge Tier 1 earn $20,000 of the $200,000 total purse plus berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup event. … Points are also up for grabs in the Tier 1 division towards the Pinty’s Cup, which is awarded to season champions following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April. … Tier 2 winners earn the opportunity to move up the ranks receiving invitations to the 2019 Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask.